Chris Lambton's Five Quick Yard-Prep Tips for Spring:
- 1. Turn and add compost to veggie garden.
Chris: "Plants need food and water just like we do. If you plant veggies in the same garden bed each year, they will take nutrients from the soil for food, and if you don't add new nutrients, the plants will not grow as well. When you add compost, you are adding a natural fertilizer to soil and this will give plants the nutrients they need to grow all season long. You don't want to add too much compost to your garden, just mix a few wheel barrels (or bags) into your garden every spring. As for planting veggies, every climate and veggie is different. It is best to check with your local nursery/gardening club or find the answer online."
Find a garden center near you. If you're in New England, Chris lists Mahoney's as one of his favorites.
- 2. Clean out all planting beds.
- Chris: "Get your rake, clippers and a barrel, and start prepping your beds for summer. You'll want to get all the leaves and twigs from the fall and winter out of your garden. Once that is done, cut back your perennial flowers and ornamental grasses. This can easily be accomplished in a weekend (depending on the size of your yard)."
- 3. Trim back ornamental grasses and perennials.
- Chris: "I cut back all my ornamental grasses to only a few inches from the ground. The grass will grow back thicker each year. As for perennial flowers, most I cut back right to the ground every spring. Larger perennial shrubs like hydrangeas, roses, and butterfly bushes differ by plant, so be sure to double check you aren't taking too much. For roses, take the old wood out, and if it's too out of control, don't be afraid to trim it down to a foot. For butterfly bushes, it all depends on how big you like it to grow. Some of my clients like them cut down to a foot, others like to leave them 3-4 feet tall. For hydrangeas, I only cut off the dead flowers and let them get big!"
- 4. Mulch.
- Chris: "Mulch is great for holding down weeds, keeping in water and breaks down to a natural fertilizer. I stay away from the dyed mulch, as it stains my hands and clothes. I mulch all my planting beds and around my trees."
- 4. Fertilize your lawn to keep it green and weed-free all summer long.
Chris: "Some of my clients like to spread fertilizer themselves; some use us (landscapers), and some use a fertilizer company. [The amount you need] is based on budget and the extent of fertilizing. I like using Scotts Steps 1-4. It is easy to use and works great. The great thing about Scotts is that it tells you when it should be applied and what the application does."
For buying fertilizer in bulk, Chris recommends Lowe's as a go-to.
For more of their picks, see Chris and Peyton's Favorite Home and Garden Shops »
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Chris Lambton and his wife, Peyton, host HGTV's 'Going Yard,' airing Saturdays at 9:30am. Chris is a professional landscaper, gardening and lawn care expert based in Cape Cod, Mass. He is co-owner of E. Lambton Landscaping with his brother, Erik.
Keep up with Chris on his Facebook page or on Twitter @ChrisLambton13. Keep up with Peyton on Twitter @PeytonWLambton.
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Neighborhood Landscaping Etiquette »
Best Landscaping Plants by Region »
Getting the Greenest Lawn »